Q+A with Dr. Linda Niessen

March 21, 2012

February 2011 | Dental Products Report 10 questions: Dr. Linda niessen Q +A: Dr. Linda Niessen Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer of Dentsply Int’l

February 2011 | Dental Products Report
10 questions: Dr. Linda niessen

Q +A: Dr. Linda Niessen

Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer of Dentsply Int’l


01 DENTSPLY is making major preventive care news at the start of the year. Can you summarize?

DENTSPLY is partnering with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop new professional products based on the calcium phosphate technology of NovaMin under the NUPRO and Sensodyne brands. This technology will provide a “portfolio of solutions” from the dental office to at-home for patients who suffer pain from dentin (tooth) sensitivity. This portfolio of solutions ranges from: NUPRO Prophy Paste with NovaMin for in-office use; NUPRO Fluoride Varnish for in-office use; High fluoride prescription toothpaste for at-home use; to OTC Sensodyne toothpaste with Potassium Nitrate.

02 What first prompted the decision to pursue this partnership?

DENTSPLY decided to pursue this partnership based on our familiarity with NovaMin. This was a unique opportunity to extend the calcium fluoride technology of NovaMin from the dental office to toothpaste used at home. On a business level, it enabled the merger of DENTSPLY’s professional expertise with Sensodyne’s sensitivity expertise to deliver a comprehensive treatment approach for patients.

03 Why is this a priority for DENTSPLY right now?

Sensitivity is a growing issue in society as the population ages and people maintain their natural teeth. People who suffer from sensitive teeth often avoid seeing their dentist at a time when they need help. DENTSPLY is committed to helping dental professionals meet patients’ needs.

04 What benefits come from working with GSK rather than going it alone as DENTSPLY?

This partnership enables us to address the patients’ needs beyond just the office because the treatment of sensitivity often requires both a “professional/in office” and an “at home” approach to be successful.

05 Can you discuss the clinical importance of NovaMin?

NovaMin is a calcium sodium phosphosilicate that was originally developed to aid in repairing bone. It was later adapted for use in dentistry. NovaMin releases calcium and phosphate ions upon contact with moisture (saliva) and has been shown to create a hydroxyapatite-like mineral layer on the tooth surface that occludes the dentin tubules and provides relief of dentin sensitivity.

06 How does NovaMin in prophy paste work together with sensitivity toothpaste as part of a system?

By creating a calcium-phosphate mineral layer/barrier on the tooth surface, NovaMin occludes or blocks the dentin tubules, which helps provide relief to the patient from tooth sensitivity. Using NUPRO Sensodyne prophy paste in the dental office and then the toothpaste at home allows the potassium nitrate in the OTC Sensodyne toothpaste with Potassium Nitrate to take full effect on tooth sensitivity.

07 Sensitivity isn’t always viewed as a “hot button” issue. Why is it important to address?

Sensitivity is experienced by more than 1/3 of the patients visiting the dentist at any time and only 1/3 of these patients are treated for the problem. Sensitivity is the tooth’s way of telling you it has a problem. Sensitivity can be caused by a variety of factors, such as dental caries, a recently restored tooth, gingival recession or after tooth whitening.

08 How do dentists benefit from seeing sensitivity as a priority?

Dental professionals are trained to help relieve dental pain in patients, to identify the cause of pain and provide a solution. Sensitivity felt during scaling and root planing can make things unpleasant for the patient or cause patients to delay dental appointments. By identifying the causes of tooth sensitivity, dentists can help patients develop a treatment for the problem so they can enjoy the benefits of good oral health.

09 How does this fit into DENTSPLY’s overall commitment to being “for better dentistry?”

DENTSPLY remains committed to helping dental professionals improve patients’ oral health by identifying better solutions to meet patients’ needs. Specifically, calcium phosphate ingredients are being tested, researched and used as potential solutions to a number of issues beyond just sensitivity.

10 Where can our readers go for more information?

DENTSPLY has eight Clinical Educators providing programs on dental sensitivity at trade shows, schools and other local events. We also have more than 80 sales professionals available to visit offices, explain the products and provide samples